Christina Barber is an award winning author of speculative fiction. She writes both fiction and non-fiction and novels as well as short stories. Her novel, Greystone, a paranormal thriller was awarded Best Seller status and the Dream Realm Award by eTreasures Publishing. Her web site can be found at www.christinabarber.net
Welcome Christina. Would you answer a few questions for us about your work?
1. Seeley's Pond is described as a dark urban fantasy. Tell us a little about the book, please?
My style of writing borders mystery, so giving too much away could spoil the plot. I will tell you that the Tayte family moves into a new home at Seely's Pond. Strange things start to occur, and Julia Tayte learns that there is an ancient Chinese curse upon the land.
2. Can you define dark urban fantasy for us?
Urban fantasy is basically 'magic in a modern setting'. Dark urban fantasy contains strong horror elements as well, thus making it a 'dark' read.
3. Spirits of Georgia's Southern Crescent is a non-fiction book. Tell us about the book.
Spirits of Georgia's Southern Crescent is a non-fiction ghost book, a collection of true stories from the area in which I live. It contains stories told to me by the person who experienced the haunting or event.
3. Tell us why you chose this as a topic?
I'd always loved ghosts. For my first novel, Greystone, I needed accurate information about ghosts and ghost hunting. So I contacted a local group, spoke with a few of the members, and even went on a hunt with them - all in the name of research for my book.
4. Please describe your approach to research for fiction and non-fiction?
I love research. I also love mythology, and typically incorporate it into my fiction when possible. Research for fiction and non-fiction is very different. For fiction, I go out on a limb, find some obscure myth, monster or situation and then craft it to be my own. With non-fiction, I try and stay as close to the truth or event as possible.
5. Greystone is your award winning paranormal thriller. Please tell us about it.
Alecia Raeham's father is brutally murdered when leaving the Greystone Psychiatric Facility on the day it closed. His death remained shrouded in mystery, until Alecia begins to uncover information. And something is haunting her. Again, giving anymore will spoil the mystery aspects to the story.
6. What makes a paranormal thriller?
A thriller is a book that keeps the reader turning pages, it is part mystery, part action. Toss some paranormal elements into it - in this case, ghosts - and you have a paranormal thriller.
7. The Best Seller status award is fairly obvious, what is the Dream Realm Award?
The Dream Realm Award is an annual award for the best in small press fiction (and I believe non-fiction as well). It is based on blind judging, which means the judges are handed the books from the nominees, but the names of the authors have been removed. From there finalists are chosen, number of finalists are based on number of entries per category. From there the judges choose a category winner. The Award is given out at a Science Fiction Convention, Armadillo Con. Greystone won for Best Speculative Romance.
8. Since you have published both novels and short stories, which do you prefer to write and why?
I prefer novels. Short stories happen when I have an idea, but it is just a glimpse, not rounded out enough for a longer work of fiction.
9. When did you start writing and why?
I'd always loved to write. As a matter of fact, my fourth grade teacher told my mother that I'd be a writer (I'd really enjoyed several writing assignments we'd had in class, and used page after page to write the stories). Anyway, from there I kept a notebook of handwritten stories, I was a closet writer. It wasn't until after my daughter was born that I decided to try and get something published. I started by finding a local critique group. Wow, did I have a lot to learn, and they taught me everything from formatting a manuscript to editing. My first acceptance was a short story for a magazine, though the story never did get published because the magazine closed.
10. Why did you choose the speculative fiction genre?
I think it chose me. My favorite author growing up was Edgar Allan Poe. When I started writing, my first attempt was an action-adventure with romance. It was terrible! I was writing what I thought sold - romance. But it wasn't where my heart was, romance wasn't me. So, I tried writing from the inside, my soul. The second attempt was much better. . . that novel was Greystone.
11. Most of your stories have real places as the setting. Why do you choose real place names?
I love adding in a link to realism. For me, it takes the novel to the next level, where the reader could actually walk on that sidewalk, or visit that coffee shop from my book.
12. Tell us a little about yourself. I know you have a web site where people can visit you. Where can they purchase your books?
Yes, I keep my website up to date, so that is usually the best place to get the latest information. I'm out on Facebook and MySpace as well.
Purchasing my books is easy - you can find my books at Amazon, Barnes and Noble, Books-a-Million, Borders and all independent bookstores as well.
13. What plans do you have for future works?
I'm always writing something. Currently I'm working with a vampire series. Hopefully, with any luck, we'll see that out in 2010.
14. Your short stories have appeared both in anthologies and magazines. Which do you prefer and why?
I prefer anthologies. It really is great to be in a book with a group of authors since we all have different styles and yet we manage to work together to bring a comprehensive work of fiction.
15. Anything else you'd like to share about yourself or your writing?
I'd like to thank my readers and fans. The most gratifying part of being an author isn't the paycheck (they don't call us starving artists for nothing), but rather meeting a reader in person, or getting an email from a fan. It really makes my day. So, thank you to all my readers, and those who will join the list - You ROCK!
And for aspiring writers - keep writing. If one story or novel doesn't seem to work, try something else. Find your voice and what calls to you, write from the heart.
Christina, thank you for visiting with us.